Palo Alto Celebrates with Zero Waste Initiative
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the City of Palo Alto threw a picnic for their employees to say ‘thank you’. True to their goals to promote and sustain a superior quality of life, the City of Palo Alto celebrated their employee appreciation day with a zero waste initiative.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the City of Palo Alto takes environmental preservation seriously. After all, the city was named after a coastal redwood tree “El Palo Alto” and boasts significant wildlife habitats including an estuary, a riparian zone, oak forest, marsh and a littoral zone. The incubator for technology advanced companies such as Google, Facebook, PayPal and other major power houses (Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, etc), the City of Palo Alto is no stranger to innovation, nor the responsibility that comes with major growth.
So when city officials decided to celebrate their employees with an appreciation picnic, it came as no surprise that they would want to take steps to ensure their employees could enjoy the event responsibility and with minimum impact on the city they work so hard to protect. The city representative and Zero Waste ambassador worked with Event Solutions to help coordinate their greener company picnic.
The City of Palo Alto chose the home of their namesake tree “El Palo Alto” as the venue for their greener picnic. J. Pearce Mitchell Park, known more commonly as Mitchell Park, has over 21 acres that include sprawling lawns, picnic areas, and plenty of accommodations (like the Magical Bridge Playground, see video below) for people of all ages and abilities. It is the perfect company picnic location for their employees with over 800 in attendance.
To help keep this park magical, they provided bins that made recycling, compost, cans and garbage collection a breeze. These were strategically placed throughout the venue to limit waste from littering the park (and recycling limited the need for garbage to be sent to the dump). Plastic bags, balloons and even disposable decorations were limited (even eliminated) while single-serving water bottles were prohibited. Instead compostable utensils and re-usable serving dishes were utilized.
The Picnic Menu
Cooked in a smoker box on-site, employees and their guests enjoyed delicious tri-tip, freshly grilled chicken breasts and an old-time favorite- all-beef hot dogs. All condiments were provided in bulk, rather than individual packets, to limit waste further.
Event Solutions’ famous homemade chili, old-fashioned potato salad, barbeque baked beans and spring salad were included. For dessert, assorted freshly baked cookies. Under their shaded umbrella tables, employees enjoyed bottomless sweet tea, lemonade, punch and filtered ice cold water while watching the games unfold.
Fun & Games
The City of Palo Alto wanted their guests to really enjoy their day. Bingo Bonanza started at 11am and was hosted by Event Solutions’ MC and event attendants to help encourage participation. Set up around their umbrella tables, guests could enjoy watching and participating in the many entertainment options.
Their Mega Field Competition Zone came complete with an award stage and prizes. The Midway Sports Booths had Hoop Shot, Strike Zone Speed Pitch, and Quarterback Toss for the sports lovers.
For those who like to take it back to the old school, Giant Ole’ School Games included Giant Jenga, Cornhole, Connect Four, and Chess and more that were big enough to make adults feel like kids again. Smiles were all around as laughter filled Mitchell Park.
Who could forget this moment?
Take it With You
Prizes, laughter and joy were taken home as the day drew to a close. Cans and recyclables were collected and sent to be reborn into a new life while leftover food was donated to the less fortunate. The event staff cleared the park, leaving only the memory of a successful day of appreciation for the City of Palo Alto. Every effort was made to ensure the picnic, like the policies the city supports, aimed to bring a superior quality of life.